Tasting events for local craft beers and free rides in a Tesla probably aren’t the first things most people associate with law firms and their marketing strategies.
But for many Baltimore-area firms, educational lectures and social events have become a popular way to reach out to potential clients and help get them in the door.
Each year, Offit Kurman hosts several events at which business executives socialize and try out local brews, including Craftoberfest (Oct. 16), Distillerama and Wine-A-Palooza.
Jim Ries, Offit Kurman’s director of business and marketing, emphasized that the events allow business people to socialize and that the firm does not interrupt to tout itself.
“All we’re doing is providing an opportunity to give value to the public and inform business owners about our firm when they ask,” Ries said.
Other free services at Offit Kurman include a monthly meeting for members of the medical cannabis industry.
On the first Friday of the month, from 9 to 11 a.m., the firm’s cannabis industry affinity group invites anyone with a license to work in the medical cannabis field to attend a lecture. Afterward, the featured speaker records a video for the Cannabusiness Key webinar series, which is uploaded online and is free for all viewers.
A recent talk by Will Tilburg, director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, drew about 50 people, Ries said.
The firm’s free meetings also address topics such as mergers and acquisition, cybersecurity and data privacy, among other hot topics. Ries said that the firm seeks to enhance its relationship with clients and potential clients and that the meetings have helped to significantly expand the firm’s client base.
At Gordon Feinblatt LLC, the firm’s lawyers give lectures to hospitals and their physicians, as well as to intellectual property and technology companies and banks.
Gordon Feinblatt CEO Barry Rosen said annual seminar and dinner events for physicians have been particularly successful, with a focus on topics such as the opioid epidemic and policy changes that affect physicians.
Rosen said the lectures show current and potential clients that Gordon Feinblatt’s lawyers are experts in their specific fields, meaning the firm can answer clients’ legal questions about medical matters without having to check with outside experts.
“It keeps us on the cutting edge of things by creating content,” Rosen said. “You’re up to speed, so when people ask you a question, it’s less expensive since you already know the answer and don’t have to go elsewhere.”
Gordon Feinblatt also publishes monthly alerts with legal advice for the firm’s banking clients, Rosen said.
Pessin Katz Law has also become a proponent of free lectures, typically holding between four and five events a month as part of its PK Law Learning Center, said Nicole Ames, chief business development officer at the firm.
These events, usually held at PK Law’s offices in Towson, mix attorneys with members of the public interested in topics such as estate planning for the elderly or tips for people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
At PK Law’s Biz Net gatherings for business owners, lawyers and guest speakers are limited to five minutes, which allows time for socializing, said Ames, who added that the Biz Net events have been a big hit.
“After we do one, people walk up to us asking, ‘How can I be a presenter?’ So it’s a really natural way of networking,” she said.